It's been 10 weeks since I predicted that US Attorney Dennis Burke would be forced to resign for his part in the Fast and Furious scandal.
On June 16th, I wrote that "Burke will be unemployed by year end."
My view is that President Obama and AG Eric Holder will try to contain the damage as far down the chain of command as possible--that means they jettison Burke very quickly.
Well, you may have read that Burke resigned this morning.
Burke's resignation is only the beginning. This scandal is so large that it will work it's way up the chain of command until it envelopes AG Eric Holder as well. If you want to know how big the story it, ask yourself how many people died as a result of Watergate.
Burke deserved to go. He certainly knew about--and probably approved--the Fast and Furious operation which resulted in scores of deaths...including two US Agents and the brother of a Mexican Attorney General. Burke then handled the resulting case badly...for example, he opposed Agent Terry's family's motion to become intervenors in the case.
Let's be clear. Burke got the position because he was close to Janet Napolitano. The US Attorney's office works extensively with the Tribes and Burke replaced a more qualified Native American woman who was an expert in Indian Law. His hiring was political and his firing was for cause. His actions led to the death of scores of innocent people and his handling of the aftermath was short sighted and callous.
Burke is by no means a victim. Let's hope that he has the class not to try to portray himself as one and let's hope the media has the sensibility not to fall for it if he does.
Speaking of the media, it will be interesting to see how the Republic handles the story. After all, the Fast and Furious scandal is a local story that has gone national. The Republic should have been going full Woodward and Bernstein on this thing. Instead, the paper systematically ignored the story. I've certainly covered the local angle extensively--and Brahm Resnik has been all over it-- but if you get your news from the Republic, you have no idea what's going on. All you will see is the surprise resignation of the US Attorney.
Newspapers used to be the gatekeepers. What they didn't write, didn't happen. Those days are long gone. Now the newspapers ignore events, but the public finds out about the events through alternative sources and then eventually the newspaper is unable to maintain the blackout. The Burke story is a great example of that phenomenon.
Newspapers lose credibility every time they try to bury a story and it blows up in their face. Soon they will be gone and the world will be a better place.